Although Hurricane Keith's winds devastated parts of Belize, the heavy
rainfall in the aftermath has caused even greater damage by flooding
villages and wiping out a large number of livestock and crops. Both the
Hondo and New River are in flood, their waters risen to new levels never
before seen. The New River has inundated the Northern Highway under two
feet of water for a few hundred yards from the toll bridge, and the road
remains impassable by small vehicles.
The entire village of Douglas has been evacuated, and presently the
is totally submerged under the merciless waters of the Rio Hondo. A
mile stretch of road leading to San Roman village has been inundated,
the village has been partially evacuated. Many have decided to stay as
do not envision they will be flooded out like Douglas.
High waters on the road to the village of San Antonio have also made it
inaccessible except by boat, and eleven families living in low lying
has been evacuated.
It does not seem that this bleak situation may brighten over the next
days, as a cold front which is stationary to the north of Belize has
forecast to continue to produce more heavy rainfall along the northern
coast of the country and in the Maya Mountains in the south.
Chief Meteorologist Carlos Fuller said, "This will only compound our
problem as this will soon contribute additional water to already
areas. Over half an inch of rain fell in Tower Hill and Libertad. The
water continues to rise to record heights at 29.2 feet, high above the
normal five to six feet height."
This means that for the villagers of Douglas there is no silver lining
the dark cloud that has taken their village from them. Families have
several areas. One such shelter is the San Pablo Community Center,
twelve adults and their sixteen children are housed.
Mr. Roman Mendez, father of a family sheltered at the center, said, "I
thankful that we have been given a roof over our heads. What I am
about is that all the money we have is going quickly, and no one in this
shelter has received any assistance of food.
"If there was work to do, I would go and earn my money just the way I
been doing for all my life, but there is no work here. I hope that
out there hear us and know that we really need some assistance. I feel
that my home and all my crops have gone, otherwise I would not be in
situation relying on people who are not helping me and my family. At
point I feel very hurt of not being able to do my work and provide for
Mrs. Rosa Martinez, 43, trying to be strong and not to break down
of the others said, "I am so sad to have lost everything that we have
worked so hard for. Our house, the plantation, we will have to start all
over again. I will be going back to my village and begin my life's work
over again. I know at this age it will be hard, but there is no where
to go. Douglas has been the only home we have known."
Mr. Julio Olivera, 78, said, "I do not know what to say, because I
explain what happened to us. I am very saddened by all this"
The New River is also taking its toll on Orange Walk Town. Many houses
the entire Louisiana area are now partially submerged, and the river
rising, forcing evacuation to higher grounds. Many homes have been
destroyed and household items have been lost.
Fred Ayuso of 62 Main Street said, "So far efforts have been
away from the town, but we have a lot of people here that have been
affected. I have since opened one of my houses freely to a few victims
the Louisiana area and urged others to do the same. We must come
and help each other instead of relying solely on help from organizations
who might have their slate full."
On Wednesday the Prime Minister visited the affected areas and stated
he believed that around five thousand people are affected by the floods.
The flood victims can now only wait patiently until the waters recede,
then begin the painful process of rebuilding their lives.
THE REPORTER, OCT 13
[This message has been edited by Marty (edited 10-13-2000).]